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Be Here Early: Choice New Albums Reviewed 9-30-16 – 10-6-16


22, A Million – Bon Iver – After a five year gap, Bon Iver return with a high tech album of folk tracks with beats, completely current, very confident, but still stuck somewhere in Wisconsin conceptually. “00000 Million” is a perfect Bon Iver song, “715 – Creeks” is Pitch Perfect break up by other means, and if you give the rest of it the time, you’ll hear electronic voice manipulation give way to piano and back, while the instrumentation rearranges itself in your ear. It takes concentration but it is worth the effort – B+

Atrocity Exhibition – Danny Brown – More songs about cunninligus and coke, or how to be orally fixated without sounding like a prat. With a unique, nasally whine of a voice and a flow that makes everything sound cool and funny if a flow can sound like an adjective, and backing tapes that the Guardian recently compared to Captain Beefheart, this is mainstream rap that sounds experimental, a power popping perfection on “Really Doe” where he is joined by Kendrick Lamar (which figures) and Earl Sweatshirt (which certainly doesn’t), and that ain’t the best. There is no worse so test drive anything you want – B+

The Complete Trio Recordings – Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt –  Both of the 80s albums, and a taste of the third albums unreleased and different takes. Which had me scurrying to Itunes because I remembered I was being offered completion, and over and  above the two original albums, it  didn’t hit me as complete.So I bought the entire collection and got my hands on all 20 new releases instead of the measly 5 songs on Spotify.  That was the plan, wasn’t it? -the complete complete Trio is two hours and twenty seven minutes, an additional hour, of time well spent.   – A

For Better Or Worse – John Prine –  Prine sings duets with female contemporaries on popular and semi-popular country standards – A

Remember Us To Life – Regina Spektor – Four years on, this ain’t bad Regina, but it isn’t great either. “Grand Hotel” is a good song, there a lot of good songs. But there is no “Small Town Moon” or “All The Rowboats” -let alone “Ink Stains”. So on a curve, it is her worse to date, though as a standalone it more than provides us with great piano based singer songwriter songs with literate and clever lyrics and first rate tunes  – B+

A Seat At The Table – Solange – Beyonce’s kid sister has always been more than simply Beyonce’s kid sister, with an ear for indie (which she taught to Bey, it is hard to imagine “Hold Up” without Solange’s influence), and a deep neo soul arrogance, smart enough to be modern, real enough to work on stage. Her first album since 2012’s excellent True is her best to date. “Junie” is a typical disco meets funk, meets finger picked bass piece of aural intoxication, though everything here is great and with 21 tracks , things could’ve gone wrong. At the very least, hold up for the Q Tip appearance at the very least – A-

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